Retroflex sounds

T.I. Console info at TICONSOLE.NL
Sat Jun 20 09:23:24 UTC 1998

Miguel Vidal wrote (regarding retroflex .d.d):

Not so early for Sardo and S. Italian (Campania, Sicily, Calabria,
Puglia) /ll/ > /d.d./, a change which is dated to the 14th c. AD. (In
Puglia, retroflexion has now been lost: d.d. > dd).  Some varieties
of Asturian (Bable) in Spain also have /d./ from Latin /ll/.

Thank you for this extra information. I checked a 14th century
old-Logudorese text, and indeed, I found `cavallu' instead of `caddu'.
Although we will perhaps never know if there was a difference
between text and speech. As to Puglia, ten years ago the retroflex
.d.d was still alive. The city of Gallipolli was pronouned Ga.d.dipo.d.di.

Retroflex sounds occur in many other languages of the world, from
Africa through Eurasia to the Americas.  They are particularly common
in Australian Aboriginal languages.

Consequently, it may be wiser not to conclude anything on the ground
of presence of lack of retroflex sounds. It seems to be intrinsic to
human speech.

Sandra van der Geer
info at

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
mcv at

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